The tit-for-tat between the Vikings and the Seahawks this free-agent season might well lead to the end, for all intents and purposes, of transition-player designations and restricted free-agency. After the Vikings pulled a fast one on the Seahawks with Steve Hutchinson's contract, the Seahawks turned around and torpedoed any chance the Vikings had at re-signing Nate Burelson. The Seahawks added a clause in their offer sheet to Burleson that mandates his whole contract be guaranteed if he plays more than five games in the state of Minnesota next season. The Vikings can't possibly match.
If other teams follow Seattle's lead, it means restricted free-agency pretty much ceases to exist. In his restricted year, a player can sign with any team and not give a second thought that the offer might be matched by his original team because of a poison pill in the offer.
Unless the NFL wants to see restricted free agency go away, it might want to step in.
UPDATE: Apparently Tagliabue thinks the same thing. He plans to address the matter with the NFLPA next week.
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 3/27/2006 6:42:00 PM